State Sen. Gary Stevens files to run for lieutenant governor

Sen. Gary Stevens addresses a joint session of the Alaska Legislature during debate about confirmations of the governor’s appointees, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

Longtime Kodiak resident Republican state Sen. Gary Stevens will run for lieutenant governor in 2018.

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Stevens has spent almost 18 years in the Alaska legislature. Before that, he was a familiar face in Kodiak’s local government. He’s served as mayor of both the Kodiak Island Borough and the city of Kodiak and was also school board president.

Stevens has been in the senate since 2004, and previously served as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives. He said it’s been in the back of his mind to run for the position of lieutenant governor. Now that he’s in the first year of a four-year term, he said he’s in a good position to do it.

“If I win, great, if I lose, I’ll spend two more years in the Senate. … Either way,” Stevens said. “I’d much appreciate the opportunity of being lieutenant governor.”

Stevens expresses flexibility about working with the goals and needs of whoever wins the position of governor.

“Giving the governor your input and your impression of how things should work or may work or can work is really, really important and that’s varied,” Stevens said. “Sometimes, we’ve had lieutenant governors that have not been able to work with the governor at all and sometimes we’ve had governors and lieutenant governors who’ve been a very fine team. That’s the main thing. And it’s really up to the governor in that case to figure out how best to use the lieutenant governor.”

Stevens also said Alaska is struggling with its election process. He said soon the state will need to replace its ballot counting machines and could look toward an alternative method. He said some of the Western states, like Colorado, have found success with mail-in ballots.

Stevens said the health care system, oil and gas, state resources and international business and sale remain primary focuses moving forward.